On Saturday, we began to put out our Christmas decorations. I don't know about where you stand, but I want desperately for Christmas to be about the birth of baby Jesus, not Santa Claus, not presents and toys, but Jesus - God stepping down into our world, God with us!
I have a kid's nativity set - it is the Little People version. Each year, I search for the best way to share the Christmas message with my kids. Last year, I purchased a advent nativity calendar, where the kids can stick on a new element of the Christmas story into the scene and read a piece of the story each day the 24 days before Christmas. The stickers don't stick so well, so this year, I purchased the same sort of thing but it is a felt board, and I can use the story book from last year with the new scene. At the store, the clerk and I carefully counted to make sure I had all 24 pieces, and I did. I got home, laid the bag in the basement, and then got it out on Saturday morning to hang up.
While I was getting it out, I was also chasing DoodleBug around the basement. She had followed me into the basement and was getting into mischief. In the meantime, I was dropping two of the pieces onto the floor unbeknownst to me. When I made it upstairs, I started sorting the pieces to find that four were missing. Big sigh! I went to check everywhere I had been, only to find two on the steps. I was a little upset, as I walked around a few times not to find any more of the pieces. Daniel and the kids came into the room and recognized my frustration. I snapped and said that I just wanted some space. The response I got was, "Now it's Christmas!" said in overt sarcasm.
I was defeated in that moment. "Great - now I have a reputation for making Christmas this thing I don't want it to be." The very reason why Christmas is a struggle for me had come to pass, and I wondered if Christmas could really be celebrated in its purest form. No longer was a Jesus an infant in a manger in a nativity scene, but he was a man on a cross, and I was left to wonder if this man I worshiped was just going to die right before my eyes. The battle raged within me - I am a sinner and there is no hope for me said my thoughts.
|A mere man or a God?|
I realized that Jesus is no more in the nativity sets and scenes than He is in Santa Claus. We can take clean elements and make them dirty when our hearts do not lay prostrate before Him. An idol can be formed of any image - even baby Jesus in a manger or a few lost stars on the basement floor.
|My idol - a complete set, a few missing stars?|
The battle of my mind continued on, and I wondered who would get the victory. Satan? Christ? Who would win? Where would my thoughts continue to go? Could I really be free from the games Satan wanted me to play? Was Christ a mere man on that cross?
I realized that Jesus came to die for this very moment, for what was happening in my now. Oh glorious day! I did not have to fear who would get victory or who would gain control of the battle that waged within me. No, that Christ was not a mere man who just died on the cross. Nay! He was and is God with us, and He has already won the victory. He died but he arose! He was and is truly God, who has won all the battles victoriously.
I am free to be a new me who is not defined by the Christmas struggle, but by the freedom He gives me to be His child, worshipping at His feet. Not worshipping the elements of Christmas, but the One True God, who is "before all things, and in Him all things hold together...so that in everything He might have supremacy." (Col 1:17, 18)
|No more Christmas idols for me|
I suspect God allowed me to drop those stars and find them later to show me that Christmas is about God living in me. My children are entrusted to find Him at the time when He will open their eyes. The story is vital to tell, but it is meaningless if I don't live the story that I tell. So I watch for them to see God living in me, as He redeems me every day, even in this moment.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
What Christmas idols are you battling?